Monday, March 20, 2006


The following short passage demonstrates yet again Dawkins way of seeing the very small as the basis for so much large scale morphological change. Following him on his pilgrimage, we have arrived at life very small, but the passage below occurs only at Concestor Number 29 (the Placozoans) which rendezvous is—he's still nine Concestors away from the origin of life.

"This idea of community, as made up of lower-level units that flourish in the presence of each other, pervades life. Even within the single cell, the principle applies. Most animal cells house communities of bacteria so comprehensively integrated into the smooth working of the cell that their bacterial origins have only recently become understood. Mitochondria, once free-living bacteria, are as essential to the workings of our cells as our cells are to them. Their genes have flourished in the presence of ours, as ours have flourished in the presence of theirs. Plant cells by themselves are incapable of photosynthesis. That chemical wizardry is performed by guest workers, originally bacteria and now relabeled chloroplasts. Plant eaters, such as ruminants and termites, are themselves largely incapable of digesting cellulose. But they are good at finding and chewing plants (see the Mixotrich's Tale). The gap in the market offered by their plant-filled guts is exploited by symbiotic micro-organisms that possess the biochemical expertise necessary to digest plant material efficiently. Creatures with complementary skills flourish in each other's presence.

"What I want to add to that familiar point is that the process is mirrored at the level of every species' 'own' genes. The entire genome of a polar bear or a penguin, of a caiman or a guanaco, is an ecological community of genes that flourish in each other's presence. The immediate arena of this flourishing is the interior of an individual's cells. But the long-term arena is the gene pool of the species. Given sexual reproduction, the gene pool is the habitat of every gene as it is recopied and recombined down the generations."


Army Captain Ian Fishback, having returned from Iraq, is courageous enough to give the lie to his superiors, Donald “Rumdumb” Rumsfeld and George “Bush-league” Bush. Isn’t that Rumsfeld’s nickname, “Rumdumb” or “Rummy” or some other nickname which suggests a penchant for alcoholic excesses like the late Senator McCarthy suffered from?

Captain Fishback claims, according to an article in Newsweek, (November 7, 2005), that torture is a systematic and approved practice in Iraq. He himself participated in it. Meanwhile, Bush threatens to veto any bill which has anti-torture language in it while winking a claim that the US does not approve of any forms of torture. McCain, really a Democrat at heart in so many ways, has this to say about torture: “This isn’t about who they are. It’s about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies.” A liberal couldn’t have put it better and liberals have been saying such things from day one.


This was Laura Bush as she cheer-led Katrina rescuers. Can’t you just hear her as she says, “Yes, by golly gee whiz, that’s the way to go, kids!” Happier days in the past as dutiful spouse makes political capital for her lyin’ man.

A recent Newsweek article reports that Huston is no longer glad that they took in 150,000 Katrina survivers. Crime's up, welfare costs up, and medical facilities swamped—the infrastructure strained to the max.

Where's the money to rebuild New Orleans, boss? Could it be in Iraq, in the coffers of Haliburton?

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